29/09/2016 12:42 PM AEST | Updated 29/09/2016 3:07 PM AEST

Kim 'Kimbo' Huynh Is Not Your Regular Canberra Politician

Yes, it's his body and no, the tattoos aren't real.

Kim Huynh didn't want to put his face on his poster like all the other election candidates.

There's a surprisingly contemplative man behind the shirtless election posters erected around Canberra.

Independent candidate Kim 'Kimbo' Huynh's tattoo-covered body is on show against a blazing yellow backdrop all over the northern district of Ginninderra. Ask him why he did it, however, and he'll reference Plato's philosopher kings, Confucian thought and his family's migrant history in the answer.

"It's a creative campaign -- everything works on multiple levels," the university lecturer said.


"There is a superficial side of it -- that you just need to cut through but then even the bright yellow colour is chosen because my name 'Kim' means gold in old Vietnamese. It's the colour of a new dawn.

"Then I've always admired Plato and he had a class of philosopher kings that were considered the gold class of people.

"Like the philosopher kings, I'm a wisdom lover. I don't value medals and honours and bombs and material goods. I have a desire to help people believe in each other and believe in the city.

"That's the role of a philosopher king."

But surely there's a touch of vanity in sharing his ripped body? Huynh said initially, his mum and brother thought it was a bad idea.

"My brother said 'don't do it, Kimbo, don't make it all you're known for' but in the end, my mum acquiesced," Huynh said.

"I'm committed, I've worked hard, I exercise every day of my life.

"I don't necessarily think it's a beautiful body. I don't do weights or take any performance enhancing drugs, but since the posters have been up I've had a lot of advice from people on what I should be doing –- particularly in relation to the pecs."

Press a little deeper though, and Huynh will tell you why a strong body means more to him than appearance and agility. His family came in Australia as refugees from Vietnam, arriving by boat before Huynh was three.

"Everything goes back to being a refugee," he said.

"I suppose I've got this apocalyptic mindset through parents.

"My brother and I have endurance bodies, it's the type of body you want in an apocalypse -- or if you're booted out of your country."

He said "Canberra saved my family's life" and now he wants to give back.

"Belconnen is a place with diversity without divisions, I want to represent that."